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Cuidad Quesada ( San Carlos ), Alajuela

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Main Park with church in Ciudad Quesada

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Located in Costa Rica’s stunning and lush Central Valley in Alajuela province is the tiny city of Ciudad Quesada, one of the region’s main trading and business centers. Also known to many Costa Ricans as San Carlos, Ciudad Quesada lies around an hours’ drive (95 kilometers) north of the capital San Jose, in San Carlos canton. Roughly 48 kilometers from Naranjo, and untouched by tourism, this small city lies on the San Carlos plain known throughout the country for being among Costa Rica’s most agriculturally fertile areas.

Situated in central Alajuela, Ciudad Quesada is rich in natural beauty and verdant vegetation, and is a center for meat and dairy production in the north of the province. In fact, if you do visit this city, remember to try out a locally made stringy cheese that is very delicious. Lying southeast of Arenal Volcano, this city sits in a rich fertile valley, just 650 meters or 2,138 feet above sea level.

Named after the renowned poet Napoleon Quesada, driving to this valley is a must as you get to view some of the most spectacular sceneries of the flourishing local countryside that is lush and green. To get here, take the Pan American highway (Rt. 1) west of San Jose to the Naranjo exit, and then follow the road signs to the city. If you wish to travel by bus, there are plenty of regular bus routes from San Jose to Ciudad Quesada.

Very close to the Juan Castro Blanco National Park, and an hour away from the Arenal Volcano, this city has an excellent climate with plenty of services, as well as hospitals, schools, and universities within the town’s limits. The transportation infrastructure out here is also good as well.

With a friendly local Tico population, this small city has actually no real tourist attractions. However, with its fresh clean air and beautiful hillsides, coming here is a great way to escape the hustle of city life. Many tourists also visit Ciudad Quesada, as it is a perfect stopover while touring the surrounding region. Also, found here are many hotels, accommodations and restaurants, as well as the luxurious El Tucano Resort and Spa, just 8 km east of the city.